If you’re scheduled for hernia surgery — or considering having the operation — you really...READ MORE
Signs of an Aortic Dissection
An aortic dissection is a true medical emergency that results from a tear of the body’s largest blood vessel. If you use fluoroquinolone antibiotics like Levaquin and Avelox, you need to be aware of the fact that these drugs have been linked to not only aortic dissections, but also aortic aneurysms. Being able to spot the warning signs of a dissection could actually mean the difference between life and death for you or a loved one.
What is an Aortic Dissection?
The aorta carries blood from the heart to all the body’s organs, with the exception of the lungs. If a tear occurs, that can lead to a potentially fatal rupture. However, if it is detected and treated quickly enough, survival is possible.
Researchers believe that fluoroquinolones can contribute to aortic dissections because they break down collagen, a substance that makes up the lining of the aorta as well as ligaments and tendons.
Spotting the Signs
Aortic dissection symptoms can often be similar to a heart attack or a stroke. They include:
- Breath shortness
- Difficulty speaking
- Loss of consciousness
- Paralysis on one side of the body
- Vision loss
- Weakness of the pulse on one side of the body compared to the other
If you ever experience any of these symptoms or you notice them in another person, call 911 immediately. Doing so could save your life, or save the life of someone else.
Surgery is typically needed in order to repair an aortic dissection. It involves removing the damaged area, blocking the flow of blood into the aortic wall, and then replacing the damaged portion with a tube, or graft. Medications that lower blood pressure and reduce the heart rate may also be given to keep a dissection from worsening.